Swiss International Air Lines AG
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded31 March 2002; 21 years ago (2002-03-31)[1]
AOC #CH.AOC.1006[2]
HubsZurich Airport
Focus citiesGeneva Airport
Frequent-flyer programMiles & More
AllianceStar Alliance
SubsidiariesEdelweiss Air
Fleet size88
Parent companyLufthansa Group
HeadquartersEuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg
near Basel, Switzerland
Register: Basel[4]
Key peopleDieter Vranckx, CEO[5]
RevenueIncrease CHF 4.41 billion (2022)[6]
Operating incomeIncrease CHF 456 million (2022)[6]
Employees8,048 (December 2022)[3]

Swiss International Air Lines AG, colloquially known as SWISS, is the flag carrier of Switzerland and a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, as well as a Star Alliance member. It operates scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Zurich Airport serves as its sole hub and Geneva Airport as a focus city.

Its headquarters are at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg near Basel, Switzerland, and an office at Zurich Airport in Kloten, Switzerland.[7] The company's registered office is in Basel.[8]

The airline was formed following the bankruptcy in 2002 of Swissair, Switzerland's then-flag carrier. The new airline was built around what had been Swissair's regional subsidiary, Crossair. Swiss retains Crossair's IATA code LX (Swissair's code was SR). It assumed Swissair's old ICAO code of SWR (Crossair's was CRX), to maintain international traffic rights.

On 18 November 2020, it was announced that Dieter Vranckx would assume the position of CEO as of 1 January 2021. Vranckx has 20 years of experience within the Lufthansa Group and had been CEO of Lufthansa Group member Brussels Airlines since the start of 2020.[5]


Swiss International Air Lines' first logo, used from 2002 to 2011.
Swiss originally took over several McDonnell Douglas MD-11 from its predecessor.
Three Airbus aircraft of Swiss: an A319-100, A320-200, and A330-200, all painted in the airline's first livery.
A Swiss Boeing 777-300ER, the airline's largest aircraft, in the revised livery with larger billboard titles.
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Swiss was formed after the 2002 bankruptcy of Swissair, Switzerland's former flag carrier. Forty percent of Crossair's income came from Swissair.[9] The new airline lost US$1.6 billion from 2002 to 2005. Swissair's biggest creditors, Credit Suisse and UBS, sold part of Swissair's assets to Crossair, which had been Swissair's regional counterpart. At the time, both Swissair and Crossair were part of the same holding company, SAirGroup. Crossair later changed its name to Swiss International Air Lines, and the new national airline officially started operations on 31 March 2002. The airline was initially owned by institutional investors (61.3%), the Swiss Confederation (20.3%), cantons and communities (12.2%), and others (6.2%). Swiss also owns subsidiaries Swiss Sun (100%) and Crossair Europe (99.9%). It has a total of 7,383 employees.[10]

According to Marcel Biedermann, the managing director of intercontinental markets for Swiss, there were three possibilities: stay independent as a niche carrier, shrink to an unrecognisable level, or attach to another airline group. The last choice was taken. Swiss talked to Air France–KLM, British Airways, and Lufthansa. However, Swiss was tied up with debt and an uncertain future and seemed to be an unattractive investment. After merging with KLM, Air France said they were too busy to deal with the Swiss joining them[dubious ]. British Airways was open, and Oneworld partners thought Zurich Airport would be a viable alternative hub for London Heathrow.

After almost a year of disputes, Swiss was finally accepted into the Oneworld airline alliance, after having been blocked by British Airways, which competes with Swiss on many long-haul routes. On 3 June 2004, Swiss announced its decision not to join Oneworld because they did not want to integrate their current frequent flyer program into British Airways' Executive Club. Furthermore, Swiss thought the relationship was one-sided, where British Airways sapped out the benefits of the airline, but they would get no return.


The airline annually halved its losses, and in 2006 recorded a net profit of $220 million. The net profit for 2007 was $570 million.[11] Biedermann stated in the March 2008 edition of Airways, that "this was the beginning of getting our house back in order." He said that help was needed and looked up to Lufthansa as a comparison, so their coming together was natural, even with their differences. Even with the smaller network, Swiss carries the same number of passengers as they did in 2002.

On 22 March 2005, Lufthansa Group confirmed its plan to take over Swiss, starting with a minority stake (11%) in a new company set up to hold Swiss shares called Air Trust. Swiss operations were gradually integrated with Lufthansa's from late 2005, and the takeover was completed on 1 July 2007. Swiss joined Star Alliance and became a member of Lufthansa's Miles and More frequent flyer program on 1 April 2006.[12]

The airline set up a regional airline subsidiary called Swiss European Air Lines. The carrier had its own air operator's certificate. Two divisions -–Swiss Aviation Training and Swiss WorldCargo (using the belly capacity of passenger planes) – are also owned by Swiss. Swiss European Air Lines (later renamed Swiss Global Air Lines) has since ceased operations and merged with its parent, Swiss.

In 2008, Swiss International Air Lines acquired Edelweiss Air[13] [14] and Servair[15] – later renamed Swiss Private Aviation. In February 2011, Swiss Private Aviation ceased operations as a result of restructuring. The company recommended using Lufthansa Private Jet Service instead.[16]

In 2007, Swiss ordered nine Airbus A330-300s to gradually replace existing A330-200s and have three-class seating. The first A330-300 was put into service on the flagship Zürich to New York-JFK route in April 2009.[17] In spring 2010 Swiss operated five A330-300s on medium and long-haul routes. The remaining four A330-300 aircraft joined the fleet in 2011.

Takeover by Lufthansa

Following Lufthansa Group's takeover,[18] the regional fleet was changed from Crossair's Embraer ERJs and Saabs to Avro RJs, which were flown by a wholly owned subsidiary, Swiss Global Air Lines. The rest of the fleet was rationalised and now mainly consists of Airbus aircraft, apart from the Boeing 777. Swiss also renegotiated their supplier contracts, including ground handling, maintenance, food service, and labour. Swiss shareholders received a performance-based option for their shares. The payment was in 2008, and the amount depended on how well Lufthansa's shares compared with competitors' shares. Lufthansa continues to maintain Swiss as a separate brand.

In 2010, Swiss and Lufthansa have named in a European Commission investigation into price-fixing but were not fined due to acting as a whistleblower.[19]

On 18 August 2011, Swiss introduced a new company logo[20] which resembled the logo of the defunct Swissair.[21]

Corporate affairs

Head office

The Swiss International Air Lines head office at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg.
Swiss' lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Swiss International Air Lines has its operational headquarters at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg[22][23] near Basel, Switzerland.[10] The French-Swiss airport is located on French territory and has customs-free access to Switzerland.[24] The Swiss head office is located in the Swiss section of the airport, and it is only accessible from Switzerland.[25] According to the commercial register, the legal seat is in Basel itself.[26]

Swiss International Air Lines' head office was previously the head office of Crossair. In 2002 the "Crossair" sign on the building was replaced by a "Swiss International Air Lines" one.[27] As of 2004 the Basel area offices housed about 1,000 employees, while the Zurich area offices housed about 850 employees. When Swiss started as a company, about 1,400-1,500 worked at the Basel offices.[28]

Swiss also operates offices at Zurich Airport in Kloten and at Geneva Airport.[29]


The following companies are part of the Swiss International Air Lines Group:

Inflight service

On European flights, Swiss serves drinks. Depending on the time of day and the duration of the flight, Swiss may also serve snacks. Cold snacks are served on shorter flights, and hot ones on longer flights. Economy class on short-haul flights only include a bottle of water, and a small bar of Swiss chocolate branded with the word "SWISS" and the distinctive tail fin is provided to passengers before landing on all flights. For its short- to mid-haul flight out of Geneva Airport and Zürich Airport, SWISS offers a culinary buy on board system called Swiss Saveurs.[31]

Trains and buses

Swiss' SWISS Air Rail service allows passengers to take any SBB train at no extra charge from Zurich Airport to Basel SBB railway station and Lugano railway station.[32] Swiss previously operated a Swissbus service from Ottawa Railway Station to Montréal–Trudeau airport in Montreal.[33]


Main article: List of Swiss International Air Lines destinations

Codeshare agreements

Swiss codeshares with the following airlines:[34]

Interline agreements

Swiss has interline agreements with the following airlines:[34]


Current fleet

As of October 2023, Swiss International Air Lines operates the following aircraft.[38][39][40][41][42] Additionally, Helvetic Airways operates ten Embraer 190s on behalf of Swiss. Following Helvetic Airways' acquisition of the type, Helvetic Airways will also operate Embraer 190-E2 aircraft on behalf of Swiss.[43]

Swiss International Air Lines fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
F B P E Total Ref.
Airbus A220-100 9 125 125 [44] Launch customer.[45]
Airbus A220-300 21 145 145 [46]
Airbus A320-200 12 180 180 [47] 8 aircraft inherited from Swissair.[42]
1 aircraft painted in Star Alliance livery.[42]
Airbus A320neo 6 11[48][49] Original order for ten with seven options to firm orders.[50]
Airbus A321-100 3 219 219 [51] All aircraft inherited from Swissair.[42]
Airbus A321-200 3
Airbus A321neo 4 4[48][49] 215 Original order for five with three options to firm orders.[50]
Some orders can be changed to Airbus A321LR.[52]
Airbus A330-300 14 8 45 183 236 [53]
4 43 21 159 227 [54]
Airbus A340-300 4 8 42 21 144 215 [55] To be retired and replaced by Airbus A350-900 by mid 2025.[56][57]
Airbus A350-900 5 3 45 38 156 242 [58] Deliveries from mid 2025 as part of a Lufthansa order to replace Airbus A340-300s.[59][57]
Boeing 777-300ER 12 8 62 24 226 320 [60] The first and only Boeing aircraft in the fleet.
Total 88 20

Fleet development

On 22 September 2010, Lufthansa announced an order for 48 new aircraft, several of them for Swiss.[61]

In March 2013, Swiss ordered six Boeing 777-300ERs. On 12 March 2015, Swiss confirmed Lufthansa Group had ordered an additional three Boeing 777-300ERs for Swiss.[62] The 777s will be operated by, and leased back from, Swiss Global Air Lines.[63] Swiss has confirmed that all 777-300ERs will have an updated First Class cabin with eight private suites and a 32-inch TV, 62 business class seats which convert into a fully flat bed that is over two meters long, and 270 economy seats, with 10 seats abreast in a 3-4-3 layout, using the same seat pitch and width on its A330s and A340s on the 777s.[64] The first of these new airliners was delivered in January 2016[65] The Boeing aircraft will replace most of Swiss' A340 aircraft while the remaining five A340s were refurbished.

In 2014, Swiss announced it would refurbish its A320 fleet, with new interiors and the older A320s and A321s were to be replaced by A320/A321neos. The A319s, along with Swiss Global Air Lines' Avro fleet, were replaced by Bombardier CS300 aircraft. The last Avro RJ100 aircraft, HB-IYZ, completed its final flight, LX7545 from Geneva to Zurich on 15 August 2017.[66]

Swiss' first Airbus A220, then known as the Bombardier CS300, entered service on 1 June 2017, with its maiden commercial flight from Geneva to London-Heathrow. Swiss was the launch customer of the Airbus A220 family (formerly known as Bombardier CSeries), with its first CSeries aircraft, a CS100 (A220-100), delivered to the airline in June 2016 and registered HB-JBA. The first commercial flight performed led from Zurich to Paris-Charles de Gaulle.[67]

The Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A220-100/-300 (Bombardier CS100/CS300) aircraft were operated by Swiss Global Air Lines until the subsidiary ceased operations in April 2018, in an attempt to lower administration costs and simplify Swiss' fleet structuring.[68]

Adria Airways operated two Saab 2000s on the Zurich-Lugano route, which was suspended after Adria's bankruptcy on 30 September 2019.[69]

Retired fleet

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Swiss International Air Lines retired aircraft
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replacement Notes/Ref
Airbus A319-100 8 2002 2020 Airbus A220-300 Taken over from Swissair.
Airbus A330-200 15 2012 Airbus A330-300
Avro RJ85 4 2007 Airbus A320 family Taken over from Crossair.
Embraer 175 24 2017 Airbus A220-300
Embraer ERJ-145 25 2007 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 16 2005 Airbus A340-300 Taken over from Swissair.
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 1 2003 Airbus A320 family Taken over from Crossair.
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 10 2002 2005
Saab 340B 2 2004 Avro RJ85
Saab 2000 31 2005 Avro RJ100

Accidents and incidents


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